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My latest project other than e learning with my son is building my own version of the dapol track cleaning car. I started with an old non operational hi-f athearn rdc and pulled the motor out of it. I cleaned up the wheels and trucks and set them aside. My next thing was milling out an area for the track pad to go. I milked out the under side of the frame so the pad would be centered and have plenty of clearance to be able to move. I built a motor mount out of 16 gauge steel and drilled a hole to hold the motor. I centered the hole and glued it to the old body clips. I used dc going straight to the motor while in my vise to be able to file down the motor shaft and keep it round then I installed the motor. I installed the abrasive pad to the motor and tested it on a scrap section of track then glued the motor down. Once the glue cured I installed a small dz series digitrax decoder to the car. Once car was together I re tested it on the scrap track. I put it on my layout and now my layout has almost mirror image clean rail heads. I built this car because the dapol one was under powered in my opinion and it works excellent. It utilizes the dapol cleaning pads still so I can order them on line and have an awesome track cleaning train!
 

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Nice home built track cleaning car!! Wish I had one. That said I thought at first by the header you was putting Home brew in a track cleaning car and trying to clean the track with it.LOL .
 

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No I call everything home made home brew. It’s a habit. It turned out super good for throwing it together in the matter of a couple hours. It’s not super pretty but I’m more worried about functional over pretty for stuff like this. It’s like taking your brand new corvette to a mine pit. Would you rather do that or take your old beat up pickup truck :LOL:
 

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Well if it works good then that's all that counts. Have you ever tried to put a box car shell over it?? Or is the motor too high.
 

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I was going to make it a passenger car and use a vista dome body but it doesn’t look quite right. I may be able to modify the rdc body to fit it but that’s for the future. I actually have a polishing pad on it right now letting it run around my layout to take care of anything the scrubbing pad missed
 

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So what are these various cleaning pads you are talking about? All I can think of is something like green scrubbing pads, and just imaging the horror of it going through a turnout and ripping up the points!

Also curious on the rotation speed of your motor? It looks like it would be fairly fast, so I'm guessing the rotation aids in the cleaning process and isn't just to ensure you don't wear grooves in your pads?
 

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The pads are the dapol track cleaning pads. I would estimate that I had it running at around 1k rpm but it’s got almost no pressure holding the pad to the track. My theory behind using it was almost using it like a buffer you would use on car paint. The scrubbing pad cleans the rail heads up really good and the polishing pad takes out any scratches the scrubbing pad may put in it. I was running the scrub pad at speed step 20 and the polishing pad at speed step 35 and then a few passes at 40 to polish up the rail heads to nearly a mirror finish. I had a car with a chair leg pad on it applying alcohol to the track in front of this cleaning car and my actual dapol car behind it running the vacuum attachment to dry up the rails.
 

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Wow, sounds like you've got quite the setup going! Some day I'll be building a track cleaner as well, so I'm collecting any information I can find up until then. The other (more ambitious) project I'd like to tackle is an automated wheel cleaner, something I could drive a loco through or pull a string of cars through to clean the black gunk off the wheels. I thought it would be really cool to include such a setup inside a roundhouse and a car shop, making it a requirement that every piece of rolling stock gets a turn in the shops.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I wonder if you could make it out of something like dremel polishing wheels and make them spin opposite directions so it wouldn’t just make the car wheels spin super fast. That would be a cool challenge to build a wheel cleaner.
 

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Hmm that's not a bad idea! If I could line the pads up well with the track it might be enough to just pull the whole train past that spot once and everything would be clean. My biggest concern would be the weight of the cars, and if they would be heavy enough to resist being derailed. But that's in the distant future, so we'll see what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If you spun the polishing pads at a reasonable speed it could work. I wouldn’t turn them much faster than a couple hundred rpm but I would think it will work ok
 

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No I call everything home made home brew. It’s a habit. It turned out super good for throwing it together in the matter of a couple hours. It’s not super pretty but I’m more worried about functional over pretty for stuff like this. It’s like taking your brand new corvette to a mine pit. Would you rather do that or take your old beat up pickup truck :LOL:
Nice work.
Why not add some kind of body on it?
How about trying to make it a slug unit?
One here made one in O scale,

More info on his build in the thread, though it is O it can be done in HO too.
546923
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The prototype I built was out of an athearn rdc car but the way I put the motor mount on it hindered me being able to put the body on it. Last night I started building a new one out of a vista dome athearn car. I’m going to my sons baseball game this evening but when I get home I’ll take some pictures of what I’ve done and post more information
 

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On this one I got a car that had lighting inside it so I knew the trucks would pick up power and me not have to make the pick ups for it. I used thin gauge steel to build the mount so it was laterally inside the car instead of perpendicular to the length of the car. I glued it all together with gorilla super glue and drilled the hole to fit the outside diameter of the motor bushing. The motor is a cannon en24 which is a better solution for this application. When I install dcc I’ll use a digitrax set up with a current keeper so it will keep power going even if the wheels get to a dirty spot in the rails. I used my dremel and cut the bottom out of the center of the car so it has some extra room. My next step is going to be to find the correct screws to screw the motor onto the mount. The motor shaft was filed down again to fit the pads. Once I get it closer to a finished product I will end up installing kd couplers and possibly patching it for atsf mow or something like that. My conundrum with it at this point is do I replace all the “window glass” with the more realistic glazing or do I leave the windows in it that came with the kit to help hide the motor and decoder etc. if this works well maybe I’ll try to set one up in a box car so it’s shorter. Either that or make one that hangs off the end of a car so I can get one to clean the track even up to the end of a spur. If I keep designing these should I keep making different threads or keep it on the same one?
 

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